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APM Sarcastic About Performance of Judiciary

Justice Jabbar Alide being sworn in as a new High Court Judge at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre Justice Jabbar Alide being sworn in as a new High Court Judge at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre

President Peter Mutharika witnessed three new High Court judges swear-in at Kamuzu Palace in Blantyre but he was clearly in doubt as to the impartiality of this arm of state which he requested to live up to public expectation.

He said Malawians have a lot of expectations from the judiciary, expectations which are embodied in the judiciary's vision and core values.

“I expect you to administer justice with fairness and impartiality.

Malawians expect the judiciary to be transparent. They expect judges to be accountable at all times.

“Are we transparent? Are we accountable?” he wondered.

Mutharika observed that the vision of the Judiciary is for expeditious and impartial justice while its core values include: integrity, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, teamwork and professionalism.

He said while the number of judges is growing, the figure remains small and inadequate, "considering the demand for judiciary services and the need for the judiciary to expedite delivery of judgments.

“Malawians expect our judiciary to be a place of unquestionably high integrity and professionalism,” he said revealing to draw inspiration from text of biblical verses that say; “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be on you.”

The President noted that in any good governance, citizens ought to be accountable to someone as only God cannot be accountable to anyone.

“The judiciary should be the moral and legal campus of society. This is so because your job is to judge the wrong doings of others.

“There are reports of rampant practice of delayed judgment in the judiciary.

“The Civil Procedure Rules provide that judgment has to be delivered within 90 days. However, judges are refusing to write judgments such that it takes as long as seven years to deliver justice,” he noted.

Mutharika expressed concern over perception of corruption in the judiciary.

“These examples show that there is a lot of work to do to restore public trust in the Judiciary,” he said.

While noting that the judiciary is one arm of government, Mutharika reminded that the judiciary was not government itself.

The independence of the Judiciary, he said, only means that the Judiciary is allowed to judge cases without interference from the other arms of government.

“But it does not mean that the Judiciary should not be accountable to anyone,” he said.

“As a generation of justices, it is your collective responsibility and legacy to correct the image of the judiciary,” he said adding “Your duty as judges is to restore public trust.”

The three new judges bring the number of Justices serving in the High Court to thirty-seven.

Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda told Zodiak online later that it was normal for the arms of government to share different opinions.

He said what was Paramount was for the three to strive to find common ground to make progress.

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Last modified on Friday, 10/04/2020

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